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The State’s Decision To Shut Dows 5 Prisons Got Heavily Criticized

Criticism runs high as the state announces its new strategy

The decision of the state government of New York to shut down five correctional facilities had called for heavy criticism from political leaders as well as correctional officers.

In an attempt to cut down the costs of the state, the state government had decided to close five correctional facilities and relocate all the staff and inmates of the said prisons. It was informed that this decision was taken to overcome the economical and financial setback in the 2024-2025 budget. 

Several questions are asked

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal had raised a lot of questions regarding the safety and wellness of both the correctional officers and inmates. State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones had said that  a large number of working staff walk into the gates of the prison, thinking that the state will take full responsibility for their safety. 

How would overcrowded prisons affect the correctional systems

Overcrowded prisons would eventually reduce the number of penalties for any rule break and it would give rise to increasing crime rates inside the prison. These actions can question the sense of safety that the workers feel.  Billy Jones had added that he thinks it is inhuman to just relocate the working staff and inmates and it represents the short sightedness of the proposed strategy. 

The safety of the inmates are also at stake

He expressed his concern about the friends and families of the inmates who are depending on the state government for the safety of their loved ones. He remembered the northern regions of the state where a lot of people depend on the correctional facilities so that they can get a job there, he stated that overlooking such complex intricacies would be an example of ignorant behavior. 

The correctional officers are not pleased either 

The correction officers union, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) also protested against the plan proposed by the state government.

They said that they are already dealing with difficult times when the crime rates are already high in the post pandemic states with a recession session still going on. Closing down facilities would overcrowd the prisons where inmates would be forced to live almost on top of one another and it raised concerns amongst the members of  NYSCOPBA. 

One of the members had stated that this solution would only give results in the short term. The rising crime rates indicate that the prisons need more correctional officers appointed with lesser density of inmates.

Current system proposes exactly the opposite. The member had said that the correctional officers had been working day and night throughout the holiday seasons to ensure public safety.

Dealing with overcrowded prisons would only worsen their mental and physical state. He also confirmed that there would be a high probability that the frustrated officers and workers would soon resign after being relocated while doing endless hard work. 

NYSCOPBA President gave a statement 

NYSCOPBA President Chris Summers said, “Latest data provided by DOCCS supports the argument that prisons are more dangerous than ever. Assaults on staff increased 13.4 percent in 2023, following a 25 percent increase the previous year when the HALT Act went into effect.

Incarcerated individual assaults increased a staggering 41.5 percent in 2023, followed by a 34 percent increase in 2022. Staff cannot effectively protect themselves or incarcerate individuals at this rate.”   

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